It’s easy for credit card debt to add up. If you’re not careful, before long you could find yourself knee-deep in debt with no way out. Too much credit card debt and no way to pay it off can lead to poor credit, expensive monthly payments, and even bankruptcy.
Luckily, this can all be prevented, especially if you nip credit card debt in the bud before it gets the best of you. These warning signs are a few indicators that you’re headed for debt trouble:
- Your cards are maxed out. Credit cards that are at their limit—or very close to it—indicate you’re relying too heavily on credit.
- You don’t know how much you actually owe. Ignorance isn’t always bliss, especially when it comes to your finances. If you don’t know how much credit card debt you actually have, you have no way of knowing when it starts to get out of hand.
- You use your credit to buy things you can’t really afford. You really want a new living room set but can’t afford to pay cash for it, so you charge it to your credit card. This type of spending gets people in credit card trouble all the time. When you make purchases with credit cards and pay the balance down slowly, you end up spending hundreds or thousands more for your purchases.
- You don’t have a debt reduction plan. If paying off your debt isn’t a priority for you, you’ll be in debt for years. This also means expensive interest payments.
- You only pay the minimum payment. Paying only the minimum payment on your credit cards will keep you in debt for years. For example, if you have a credit card with a $1,000 balance and pay only the minimum amount each month, it will take you over 9 years to pay off.
- You can no longer afford the minimum payments. If you can’t afford to make the minimum payments on your cards, your credit is out of control.
Taking control of credit card debt
If one or more of these warning signs apply to you, don’t panic. To take control of your debt:
- Stop charging purchases to your credit cards.
- Make a plan to pay down debt.
- Pay more than the minimum payment each month.
If your credit card debt has already gotten the best of you, you may need to seek professional help. A free consultation with a licensed insolvency trustee can help you decide the best way to get out of debt and take control of your finances.